Public Embarrassment

If you have children, I am sure that at one point or another you have enjoyed the act of embarrassing them in public…intentionally. I know the adults in this family do! Maybe we are cruel, but it does bring a few minutes of great entertainment, and then many laughs later when we reminisce about how silly we were, what their reactions were…but have you ever had the experience of unintentional public embarrassment? Have you ever felt the heart staking pain the first time that you find out that your child is embarrassed to be with you in public just for being you? Without an intentional plan to make their face turn red…Well, if you are a parent of a teen-ager, I am sure you have…if your children aren’t that old yet…Just. You. Wait…that first time it happens you will experience a piercing feeling in the chest that you will never forget.

My first experience of this wrenching feeling was with my 13 year old son… OH!…THE!!…PAIN!!!…Do I really want to relive one of the most horrible days of this parenting extravaganza I’ve been on by writing this event on paper?

It was a beautiful fall day, and the leaves were just changing to the brilliant reds, oranges and yellows that they do every year, but this is one beautiful fall day that is chiseled into my memory forever…it was a Friday night and I was driving my son to basketball practice. I was born in the 70s, and those people that were also born around this time frame knows what great music we listened to in the 80s! It was the best era of music of all time. Of course I was cranking the tunes from the 80s, bopping my head to the beat of the music, singing the familiar tune of Tiffany’s “I Think Were Alone Now”, with my sunroof open enjoying the crisp fall evening air, when all of a sudden, Tiffany was replaced with some rap guy’s poor English screeches…my son had popped the button on the XM radio to his favorite music station.

Oh my ears! This stuff is horrible! I turned down the volume and reminded him that when he starts paying the XM radio bill he is more than welcomed to run the radio, but for this month, I paid the bill so that gives me DJ rights! The sweet sound of Tiffany’s voice returned, along with my head bopping and seat dancing. This is when it all unfolded! “Mom, could you just wait to crank your stupid music after you drop me off? You are so embarrassing!”…Oh my heart!!!!

I did a double take and thought, this has to be just a bad dream…I looked over at him and he looked back at me with those big brown eyes, and I could see the embarrassment in them…it was no dream! I wasn’t trying to embarrass him this time, I was just in my happy place, and POP, that bubble was quickly burst!

I pulled up by the door to the gym to let him off and turned to get the, Thank-you-mom-I-love-you kiss and BAM! Nothing! Just another look of embarrassment as if to say, ‘are you freaking kidding me?’

As he got out and slammed the door, he slammed the door on my heart! Where did my sweet “Buzzy Bear” go? Is this what I get for 13 years of cleaning up his messes, sleepless nights being his nurse when he had whooping cough, playing taxi for his athletic career since he was five…really, is this my repayment? It was a very eye-opening moment in my parenting career!

As I drove home, heartbroken and fighting back the tears, it hit me…this must be the way that God feels, when we are embarrassed to talk about him in public. We snuggle with him in the darkness of our rooms as we say our good night prayers, but when it comes to our day-to-day life, we hide our love for him. We are all children of God, but as Jesus taught his disciples in Matthew 10:33 “But those who reject me publicly, I will reject before my Father in heaven”.

Should we hide our Christianity? Should we make our creator feel that horrible pain that I felt when my son was publicly embarrassed by me? If you have experience what I did that day, maybe you can connect. Hopefully, when my son grows up and becomes an adult I will no longer embarrass him…he might even appreciate the great tunes of the 80s and bop along with me! I am hoping that like my son, we all might finally grow up in our Christianity and realize how hurtful we have been to our savior and knowing our creator, he will forgive us, just like I forgave my son. That is what parents do!